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Adam Ezra Group

- Chapter 1 of the wild story behind "The Making of Ragtop Angel"

- Chapter 1 of the wild story behind The Making of Ragtop Angel
The roller coaster ride behind this album is truly one we never fathomed would happen to us.  From unlikely beginnings, it blossomed into a dream experience for us here in camp AEG.

About two and a half years ago Roie Avin, the CEO of a website called “”, contacted us, asking if we would be interested in joining an on-line contest they were holding for indie bands throughout the Northeast.
It’s so hard these days to tell what is a scam and what is real.  We tend to err on the side of skepticism when it comes to industry folks who reach out to us, so at first we politely told him, “No thanks.”  Roie was persistent.  We finally ended up entering the contest, and thanks to our amazing fans heading to and voting their asses off, we won!

(yes, it was you, who actually made this whole thing happen!)

The prize was the chance to head into the studio with a producer of their choice.
To be honest, we were still skeptical.  These days, anyone with a basement, computer, and decent set of microphones can call themselves a producer.  We still had no idea what we had gotten ourselves into.  
That is, until Roie called us up the next week.

He told us that multi-platinum producer, Aaron Johnson, was interested in the project and he was going to fly into Boston to work with us. Aaron’s breakout work had been producing all of the albums for the band, The Fray, and since then had gone on to produce other projects, many of which had made the charts.
It was pretty frickin exciting that this guy was into our music!

People here at camp AEG began to get excited.  Was this really going to happen?
Roie called us up, and said that instead of a 1 song demo, he wanted his brand new label, “Royal Avenue Music,” to sign us to a development deal.  This meant that Aaron would produce 3 songs for us, and then the Royal Ave would have the option of turning it into a full-length album.

Personally, I have to admit that I was still skeptical.  First of all, I was flattered that Aaron liked my writing and our band enough to want to work with us, but The Fray is a very different band than AEG.
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Was he going to try to produce the crap out of our music?
Squeeze all the “good n’ rootsy” out of it?
Auto-tune my voice?
Change the songs?
Bring in a bunch of musicians to lay down a bunch of tracks that would drown AEG out?
Was I going to need to start wearing leather pants and sunglasses indoors?
Make people start calling me “Ez” and develop a raging cocaine addiction?

In other words, was Aaron going to “get” who we are, and allow the soul of AEG to shine.
In other, other words, “Exactly what side of the force was this dude on? Bad-Ass Jedi Warrior, or Sith Lord?!”

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Well, if you still reading this rambling narration, you may already be familiar with the results if our first week with Aaron.  The label flew both him, and engineer/producer extraordinaire, Warren Huart, into Boston and we worked for a week at Q-Division studios on three songs that eventually became our EP “Part 1” that we released last fall.

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The experience of recording these tunes was pretty amazing.  I first submitted about fifty different songs I had been working on to Aaron.  Out of these he chose, “Miss Hallelujah, Takin’ Off, and Soldier.”  I was immediately impressed with the Aaron’s thoughtfulness throughout this process.  He really tried to grab onto what each song was expressing, and helped to steer me in some great directions as far as shaping and crafting the final versions of the songs.
Once in the studio, it was, simply put, off the hook.

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Aaron and Warren were a whirlwind of ideas, working with each of us on our parts, suggesting changes, adding cool sections and layers we would never have thought of.  They worked with about 3 other engineers that week, and we were constantly taken care of.
Needed a mic adjusted?  It was done before you could even think to do it.
Guitar strings?  A fresh set already put on the guitar.
Drums?  Already set up and tuned.
Lunch?  Ordered and on it’s way.

We didn’t wanna leave!  And watching the songs slowly develop and take shape over the course of the week was best part.

Well, Roie and the team at Royal Avenue Music were thrilled, and it wasn’t long before we were planning to head back into the studio with Aaron and Warren to record the rest of a full length album.  This time, they were flying us out to LA.
As plans were taking shape, I had to check in with myself every once in a while.
Was this really happening?

I mean, all you hear these days is that Record Labels aren’t spending money developing artists anymore, especially quirky, indie, multi-layered, roots-rockers like us!

As our LA session loomed closer, Royal Ave flew me to Los Angeles and Florida to do some writing with other talented artists, Chris Seefried, and John D’Angelo.  This too was a blast for me.  Co-writing is such an interesting process…like telling a story with another human trading off one word at a time…you’re never exactly sure where it’s goin, but each word you add brings it somewhere new, and each word they add gives you new ideas for your next word…
To Be Continued….

On 11/8/11 Ragtop Angel will be available on iTunes!

Ragtop Angel - Adam Ezra Group

updated: 5 years ago